Genre: YA fiction
First Draft during 2013 NaNo challenge.
Wendy was my best friend. If I could actually say I had any best friends I would give that title to Wendy, but in truth, I never wanted a best friend. I don’t need one, but Wendy does, and she’s a good girl so we stick together. We’re both losers. None of the other kids at school want to hang out with us, and that’s A-OK with me. I know it hurts Wendy, but the kids are all mean to her so I can understand why it bothers her. Before me she didn’t have any friends. It’s not her fault. She’s got maybe the worst home in our town, but kids don’t care about that stuff at least the parts that matter about that stuff, like how your parents treat you or raise you or if they do some terrible things to you. Kids just care about if you’re normal or not. If your not normal you suck and if you are normal you need to be the right kind of normal. They all suck.
I used to have a lot of friends. I grew up on the ridge in a big house, and we had two cars, and cable as soon as it came to our town, and we had a VCR before anyone else on the street, and my dad had the best stereo system on the block. Our town is really small. There are only two elementary schools. The schools separate the kids who live on the north ridge canyon from the south ridge canyon. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the north or the south both parts have people that have more money than anyone that lives in the foothills. My dad told me that money is not the most important thing in life that family is and besides all the people who live in Ridgetown think they are rich but they don’t have squat. I know this is true because my dad would take us to San Francisco twice a year to visit his brother who was a lawyer and they would take us to places where the richest people would eat and play. It was cool at the time because my parents would buy clothes for my brother and me and I would always have clothes that no other girl would have. This made me popular, plus because I lived on the ridge and my parents would host parties for other parents and kids in the neighborhood and we’d had Halloween and Christmas parties every year since I was little. My friend’s and I knew how our lives were going to be. We would go to Ridgeview elementary and then go to Ridgeview middle school where we would be put with the kids from South Ridgeview elementary which would be great because there would be new boys and when we were thirteen we knew we would want to meet new boys, then we would go to Ridgeview High School, and we’d probably be cheerleaders or do a sport or be in choir and then we’d be adults and that just meant we’d have our own family and have some kind of work that gave us money to live like our parents, but we didn’t think much about it because we just wanted to be teenagers and go to high school where things were going to be out of this world fun.
But then my brother died. Then after that my mother died. My father might as well of died. One night, he woke me and put my in our truck and he drove me up to the Pines, the small mountain town above Ridgeview where my grandparents lived. It was nighttime and it was dark and cold. He put me on the porch. I stood there shivering and holding onto my comforter as I watched him put boxes of my stuff on the porch around my body like he was building a fortress around me. I didn’t know why or when he had packed up my things. The lights from my grandparents house flickered on and my dad worked faster. I had managed to mumble, “Daddy, what are we doing?” He didn’t even look at me he just kept dropping things onto the porch and then he climbed back into the truck as my grandma and Grandpa opened the door to see their son slam the door of his truck and drive off. My grandmother managed to yell out, “Steven?” As he pulled out of the gravel driveway with my grandpa in nothing but a white tee shirt boxers a terrycloth maroon robe and pink slippers chased after him. I remember thinking two things. One, I had hoped that my grandpa didn’t have a heart attack and two, why do grandpas all seem to sleep in the same exact thing? That was the last time I saw my dad and that was a year ago the summer before my fifth grade year.
It wasn’t just these things that made me stop having friends.I think for a normal kids moving from the Ridge to the Pines would suck because you have to say good-bye to your friend’s but like I said our town was small and kids from all the other small towns went to the schools in Ridgeview. The Pines still fell into the same district as the North Ridge so as my grandma said, I’d still get to go to the same school so I would at least have my friends. At least. People didn’t stop liking me because my brother died or because my mom died or because my dad totally ditched me. Kids are cruel, but that’s way too below the belt and besides I was popular since kindergarten. You don’t know you’re popular but when you’re in third grade and you look back when you were a kid in Kindergarten and you remember that you always had other kids sleeping around you during nap time you know you’re liked. That was me. I stopped having friends because I stopped wanting them. If you want some good solid enemies tell them that you don’t like them anymore and that’s the best way to do it. Why would I not friends when it would seem like I need them? Because I wasn’t feeling better fast enough. Most kids here that I new all had both sets of grandparents unless a grandpa died young in one of the wars that happened before we were born. The worst thing that happened was if someone’s parents got divorced. That was seriously bad, and we’d huddle around our friend consoling her like her parents had died. Then someone did die. Someone young, my brother and someone beautiful my mother, and they tried to huddle around me and console me like my parents had gotten a divorce. Then my dad abandoned me. At first they tried to be there but what could they do? So they waited for me to feel better and when after a couple of months I stopped feeling better they got impatient. Then I started painting my nails black, and they got uncomfortable, and I started wearing black and they didn’t agree, and then it happened one of the mom’s said, “Brianna is going into her dark phase.” And, then one kid said, “When are you going to be normal again?” And another kid said, “You’re totally getting weird.” And then I got mad because when your brother dies then your mom, and then your dad leaves your supposed to get over it, and go back to shopping with your friends and not be so depressing all the time. And then when some snotty kid that used to be your friend in class says, “you just want attention cause you mommy died,” you say something. I screamed, “Fuck you!” And then I got taken to the principal where they asked me how an eleven year old girl learns such bad words and I told them Showtime, and they suspended me, but just for a day because of the sad circumstances of my life. And because now I’m dark and I say bad words I’m bad, and when kids that were my friends try to tease me at school and I jump on that kids back and scream and hit him and make him cry. I get sent home from school for three days because even though my circumstances are bad they can’t condone my behavior. And soon kids stop teasing me because they know I’ll hit them, and they know I’ll say a bad word to them because I don’t care and the teachers wonder if I’ll get better, and my old friends decide to snicker out or arms reach, but they never call me a looser because they know they’ll get. I’ll take a tooth or half their hair they’ll get it. So they leave me alone and they forget I was their friend and we had the best Halloween parties on the block. They forget my mom died. They forget my brother died and my father is gone. They forget they just see “not normal.” But they know they’ll get it if they make me mad they’ll get it good.
The only good thing about school was that it got me away from my grandparents house. They were really old even for grandparents. They had my dad later in life as my dad would say. I think my grandma was forty or something so my grandparents were like twenty years older than my friends grandparents. They were nice but they were not ready for a girl that was about to start her period any day now. They also were not ready to have their only son disappear off the face of the world. For a whole year they told me that my dad was grieving and that he would be back. I stopped listening. I think my grandma still says it but my grandpa doesn’t say anything he just watches the news. I’m not bad to my grandparents. In fact, I don’t do anything, but write in my diary, draw pictures and go for walks. I could do bad things if I wanted to because I know there are bad kids at school. Some of the other sixth graders that have bad homes and who can get cigarettes and smoke, but I don’t care about them or anything. If I was a bad kid I don’t know what they’d do maybe try to send me away or something or put me into foster care where some of the bad kids go, but only I fight at school when someone gets in my face, and no one gets in my face.
“Do you think Mrs. Crabtree is going to let us have a Halloween party in class this year?” Wendy and I were sitting on one of the outdoor lunch tables at school watching some kids play kick ball.
“Marissa said in class that Halloween is for babies and anyone that dresses up is a baby. Then she asked me what I was gonna be for Halloween and then she laughed at me.” She said.
“What do you care what stupid Marissa thinks? I know she’s just being dumb and trying to bug you because she’s gonna dress up. Everyone dresses up. She’s just probably trying to get you to not dress up to make fun of you. No matter what she’s gonna try to make fun of you.” I rubbed some dirt off the canvas of my black tennis shoes. “You should just tell her to fuck it.”
Wendy was always shocked if I used a bad word. It didn’t matter if it was the word fuck or ass or shit or fart head. She’s suck in her breath like she’d been punched in the stomach and she’d cover her mouth as if my bad words could get in her head that way. It wasn’t like she didn’t hear the worst most baddest words ever coming from her mom and step dad every single day. Some of my best words come from her mom when she’s screaming at Wendy. “I can’t say that. I can never say that. I’d get sent home and me mom would kill me.”
That was true Wendy’s mom would kill her.